Ash Wednesday

O Catherine! My Catherine! our futile trip is done
where it commenced: in my bookless room,
Ulysses' tomb, surely buried she'd be!
First we laid Tourette's, next regrets,
the last day she rose up and left, hers the sole assent...
But saving herself strictly for marriage, or really from me?

Oh and for Catherine, St. Catherine of God,
I purge, with a dirge she'd deride,
with sadness, sad for what I am not:
a soul to share in her eternal life.

Oh Catherine, pressed for an opinion, sighed,
"My, what wit, man," putting down her Joyce,
with "Joyce" oblivious to the trump she just played.
Couldn't heaven, her heaven,
brimming over with smart boys, fit just one art boy
who tried but failed to win her heart poised with brains?

And as I pace, stranded here outside her Shelta,
in famous raincoat unknown to roam,
my girl in glasses went clear--my Tekakwitha--
for I lack the wit to spare a safe Algonquin abode.

Well yes, I faked this "X", I should confess,
using some old used cigarette.
"So you'd cheat your way into heaven," she might protest.
Well no, I know it's wrong, but I did burn my palms,
I guess that butt was still fresh.
Et Catherine vaut bien une messe...

On this sad day to mourn
us wretched souls cursed to be born,
a spark zips through my head to be
mistaken for Catholic with some smeared ash;
to wear it like a tragic mask.

On this Ash Wednesday morn,
in spreading mole my sickness borne
upon this head for all to see.
And maybe if Catherine sees, she'll ask,
"So where'd you attend Mass?"

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